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Startup freeing the good stuff from university research labs

By Paul McNamara on Wed, 01/31/07 - 12:29pm.

University research labs are not supposed to be like Las Vegas: What happens in them is not supposed to stay there, yet too often that's what happens.

Looking to change that situation is the Kauffman Innovation Network and its nonprofit iBridge Network, announced this morning at Network World's DEMO 07 in Palm Springs, Calif. Here's how the site is described:

The iBridge Network aggregates research materials, technologies and discoveries into an online, easy-to-search forum. Through the iBridge Web site, researchers and commercial end users can find what they need by using community tagging and open interfaces -- and then obtain the materials via e-commerce.

Finding these things today is hard, says Laura Paglione, executive direction at Kauffman. There is no other publicly available source with this type of at-your-fingertips information and connections. And it's clearly written and understandable for a non-PHD like myself.

Anyone who has ever attempted to discover necessary research information through blind searches will immediately recognize the benefits being offered by the iBridge Network, in particular, the translations from academic-speak into English.

The facilitation of making actual e-commerce transfers between the research organizations and those who can use their fruits also appears invaluable. From the iBridge press release:

Universities may use the iBridge Web site to license and distribute a variety of items, including software, research tools, databases, teaching materials, surveys, and reference materials. Postings may include a variety of research materials and descriptions of ongoing research activities. ... According to the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), over $40 billion is spent on academic research annually, though only $1 billion makes it off of university shelves in the form of new inventions and research.

The undertaking is being funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

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